IS INDIA READY FOR THE BIGGER PROBLEM - Coronavirus?

India is the second most populated country in the whole world with an under-funded medical system which makes it more prone to positive cases of COVID.

The cases of corona are rising at an alarming state in the past few weeks and India is not ready for it with a low health care facility and battered economy to handle a virus of the magnitude of China or Italy or anything near it. So far India has only seen 27 deaths and over 1000 positive cases but however, experts says that this is not the exact tally and besides there are many who haven’t been tested yet.

According to Bloomberg in a report where it spoke to many physicians in India and according to them there are no patients that reported respiratory ailments which would suggest COVID-19. But all agreed that it is just a matter of time and India isn’t at all ready for it.

Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown for 21 days, we can still see new hundreds of cases every day. Such a large scale lockdown will be very difficult to be maintained especially for the poor who live in close quarters and maintaining social distancing among themselves is almost impossible.

A study ran at the University of Michigan predicts that the country may have almost 915,000 cases of positive coronavirus by the end of May, more than the world have right now.

An infectious disease specialist in the southern city of Cochin, Anup Warrier says that this is just an interval period. He was alarmed when 14 patients in his hospital who had symptoms of COVID-19 were tested negative. According to him, this lucky streak is not going to last long.

Even though India acted quite early to control the spread of coronavirus by sealing the entry points of the country that may not mean we are safe. India has a very small number of positive cases even below Finland and Chile and this may be because India hasn’t looked hard enough for new cases and also has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. India has so far only tested 35,000 people for coronavirus as of Sunday which is very low. Even the US, who was criticized for its slow actions has also tested 552,000 people till 26 March.

Our country spends only 3.7%in healthcare is of 2016 according to World Bank data. On a number of doctors, nurses and hospital, Indian ranks near the bottom and 65% of the population of our country don’t have health insurance putting pressure on understaffed and overcrowded public hospitals.

According to a doctor caring for COVID-19 patients in Mumbai, by seeing the rising pattern of coronavirus infection all over the countries so far, this is the time we expect the cases to rise in India as well. He doesn’t see any reasons why India will be affected differently.

Mumbai, home to more than 18 million people had only one public hospital authorized to test corona was overcrowded and the basins were filled with vomit and stray cats were sitting between the beds. Now there are three government hospital to test and teat COVID patients.

According to government mass testing is unnecessary and will put a strain on resources as each test costs 4,500 and also said that it may spark panic among people.

Mehul Thakkar a doctor in Mumbai who splits his time between private hospital and suburbs of Mumbai said that there is an increase in cases of cold and flu. This might be mild COVID-19 cases but are not sure yet.

According to T. Jacob John, former head of the Indian Council for the medical research centre, lockdown in India came too late. India may face an epidemic worse than Italy. By seeing the population, if the virus spreads to only 10% of the people it will affect 130 million people.

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